It was a case of mixed fortunes for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team in Friday’s two free practice sessions at the Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo. While outgoing rider, Jorge Lorenzo, set a blistering pace at the top of the leaderboard, teammate Valentino Rossi was only eighth quickest in the combined session times.
This weekend holds great significance for Lorenzo, as it marks his last appearance for Yamaha and he didn’t waste any time getting down to business. The local hero was fast right out of the box in bth the first and second sessions, leading from the start.
Unfortunately, Rossi had a less than desirable start to the Valencia Grand Prix when he was unable to complete his out lap due to technical issues he returned to the pit box. However, once that was resolved, he consistently improved his pace, switching back to his first bike and wrapping up the first session in second place, 0.387s behind his teammate, with a 1‘31.432s lap.
In second practice, the Italian was able to better his morning time and finished in eighth place in the combined times with a 1‘31.257s, 0.794s behind his teammate.
“Today has been mixed for us,” said Massimo Meregalli, team manager. “On the one hand we can be very satisfied that we are leading the way with Jorge since FP1. He is determined to make this weekend unforgettable and he‘s already working in the right direction with his bike‘s set-up and he looked very confident during the runs.”
“Valentino had an issue with his bike this morning, so we lost some valuable time there, which partly affected their schedule. Vale started well in the morning and took second place, but in the afternoon he suffered from a lack of grip at the beginning of FP2 with the harder rear tyre and was unable to ride the way he wanted.”
“When he put in the softer option his feeling improved. For sure they are going to work and better the areas where he suffered and we are confident we can make another step for tomorrow‘s FP3.”